Korea to award major research and development grants to fight COVID-19

Driven by the urgent need to develop more and better ventilators and other devices to treat Covid-19 patients, South Korea plans to bolster private-sector medical device research in Korea with an infusion of government cash and expertise.

The research and development project aims to allocate $980 million in government funding over the next five years to scientists and engineers who would apply for grants related to the development of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and in vitro diagnostic devices, as well as ventilators and other devices for treating COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

The project is a joint venture between various Korean ministries in charge of trade, industry and energy, science, health and welfare, and food and drug safety.

Similar to China, Korea is looking to significantly build up its own medical device manufacturing business – to compete with Western device companies.